Overcoming diversity barriers and living her dream

Community News & Features Jun 22, 2018 at 2:58 pm

Aida KingCanadian Actress Aida King

By Joyce Cameron

When Aida King was just a child, she would constantly re-enact her favorite scenes from iconic films and television shows. When she read a book, she would not just simply take in the words, she would act them out. Whenever she did this, she felt alive, and never imagined herself doing anything other than acting. However, being a Filipino Canadian, she was worried it would not be possible.

“Unfortunately, because I never saw anyone that reflected myself on TV or in the movies, I did not think it was possible for me to have a career. As a little child, I turned to cartoons and would happily and naively assume that characters with black hair must have been Asian-American, as they ‘looked’ and sounded like me. The odd time I did see anyone like me, it was completely discouraging as they placed well into the background scenes or relegated to playing stereotypical immigrant roles. But I still dreamt for a chance to have a visual part in the North American storytelling,” she said.

King was born and raised in a multicultural downtown Toronto urban neighborhood. She has spent her career rising to the top of Canada’s film and television industry, overcoming the diversity barriers she believed as a child would hold her back. She always aims for roles that not only call for any race, but if they are looking for an Asian actress, are far from stereotypical.

“I believe that I make a great representative of a world population sector that is still well under-represented in the American entertainment industry. The combination of my versatile appearance, my upbringing, and my devotion to the creative arts all produce a fresh perspective, a different angle or voice to the industry and hence for the audience. Up until very recently, our audiences have been unable to see Asian-Americans as regular Americans. Audiences, not just in North America, but worldwide, are now looking for new stories and are more welcoming and open to see and hear different perspectives,” said King.

King has managed to break through and become a sought-after actress in the industry, working on many critically-acclaimed projects. She is best known for her work in The Convicted, an Official Selection at HollyShorts Film Festival, Stories by the River Film Festival, Official Selection, Pervolia International Film Festival, and All Things Hollywood Film Festival, War of Mind, an Official Selection at the Blackbird Film Festival, Desert Drive, an Official Selection at Ozarj Shorts Festival, and Hemorrhage, a successful film on Vimeo on Demand.

“Being an actor was always my dream. I enjoy changing my world in an instant and disappearing into a character. I love being part of a team, supporting both cast and crew, working together towards the common goal of producing a good story. It’s exhilarating,” she said.

King has also worked alongside many of Hollywood’s elite. She describes the highlight of her career as sitting down with the legendary Producer and Director Jonathan Sanger. He reviewed King’s sizzle reel and she watched him positively react and compliment her on a dramatic scene. It was a simple, private and quick moment, but it had a major impact on the actress.

“I like to research a character and have their backstory so that I can find out what I have in common with them or how I could possibly relate. If they don’t have a backstory, I create one. While I would not describe myself as a method actor, I can say that I truly immerse myself into the character at that moment while filming. Since I have a music background, I apply my method of how I used to prepare for playing music towards acting,” she described.

One of King’s greatest partnerships in her career has been with Producer/Director Josh Mitchell. Mitchell was instantly impressed with King from the moment they began working together, and when his film The Convicted went on to see the success it did, he knew he wanted to work with the actress as much as possible. Mitchell has worked with many of the most talented filmmakers and industry artists over the course of his career, among them the multi award-winning stunt actress and producer Dawn Noel whose body of work includes the Kid’s Choice Award-nominated feature Men in Black 3, Honey 2 featuring the globally known actress Jessica Alba and the hit television series Fear the Walking Dead. With all his experience, he finds King to be one of the most extraordinarily gifted actors he has had the privilege of working with over the course of his career in film and television.

“Aida’s renown in the entertainment industry is plainly evidenced by her roster of countless hit credits across Canadian film productions. Aida has ably performed in a multitude of dramatic and comedic roles, setting her apart from many actors as she has played everything from a mob boss’s girlfriend to the wife whose husband is struggling with PTSD symptoms. To be able to pull off such a stunning array of roles and characters is testament to Aida’s renown as an actor of the highest order,” said Mitchell.

Audiences can expect to continue to see King on both the big and small screen for quite some time, with many exciting projects in the pipeline. This year, she will star in the feature Live alongside the prolific Gladys Knight, a thriller following a renowned doctor, who after a near death experience discovers a method of healing patients without the use of medicine, as a child gives him a mysterious paranormal gift that leads him down a dangerous path.

King has come a long way from the little girl who thought her dream of being a movie star was unattainable. She encourages all those who dream of one day being an actor to never give up on those dreams. For those looking to follow in her footsteps, she offers the following advice.

“It’s important to know who you are as a person and to have solid confidence in both yourself and your talent,” she said. “Keep in mind that while rejection is tough, the reason for being chosen is usually completely subjective reasons and has nothing to do with you as a person. Be grateful for all opportunities and never downplay projects or presume that they are unimportant. You never know when you may get your big break.”